Debelle et al. compiled a list of botanical selleck screening library agents known to contain AA.65 Despite a ban in many countries, products containing AA continue to be widely available. Inappropriate nomenclature and imprecise labelling are other confounding issues. Cheung et al.35 found AA in a number of Chinese raw herbs and manufactured herbal products, many of which were due to the complexity of nomenclature leading to mistaken identification. It is
also possible that more nephrotoxic plants still remain unidentified. The possibility of plants being responsible for CKD in other parts of the world has been suggested. A large proportion of CKD patients in the Indian subcontinent present with a relatively short history, advanced renal failure, little or no oedema, mild hypertension and small
smooth kidneys. The primary disease in most of these cases Gemcitabine in vivo remains a mystery.86 Out of over 3000 consecutive patients seen at our Institute, the aetiology could not be determined in over one-third. Clusters of CKD have also been reported from Sri Lanka, affected individuals being male farmers of poor socioeconomic status in the north-central provinces.87,88 Similar presentation has been described amongst South Asians living in the UK.89 The role of environmental toxins, such as herbs, pesticides or other chemicals in the genesis of CKD either directly or through contamination of drinking water, rice or edible fish65,87,88,90 has been proposed but remains unproven as yet. A recent Thai study91 showed an inverse relationship between the prevalence of CKD and the developmental status of the society. The prevalence increased progressively from urban areas to urban slums to the villages, suggesting the presence of unique risk factors in a less developed population. Lack of regulation is a major factor behind the widespread use of potentially toxic herbs. Classification as ‘dietary supplements’ keeps them out of the ambit of efficacy and safety requirements in the
DOK2 USA.17 The European Community introduced a list of unacceptable herbs and made adverse event reporting mandatory in 2004.57 However, locally prepared medicines using crude herbal ingredients and non-medicinal herbal products continue to be exempt from such rules. In conclusion, the use of herbal remedies is common in large parts of the developing world, especially amongst the rural population. The true incidence of CKD due to nephrotoxic herbs remains uncertain. The structural and functional abnormalities are non-specific and may be overlooked. AA, present in a number of commonly used plants has been proved to cause chronic interstitial nephritis and urothelial malignancy. Clinical inquiry should be extended to include the possibility of use of herbal medicine when investigating a case of unexplained kidney disease or urothelial carcinoma. Regulatory control is essential to prevent toxicity due to misuse of herbs.